Anybody who has watched Ladislav Smid play for the Edmonton Oilers for more than five minutes or so knows exactly what he is: a physically robust stay-at-home defenseman who will block shots and take the body and won’t contribute much in the way of offense.

We know what Smid is. The question the Oilers have to come up with an answer to, preferably before the 27-year-old hits unrestricted free agency during an off-season in which the UFA blue line crop is less than inspiring, is what is Smid worth on a new contract?

While that number is up to debate, what isn’t is that whatever figure you arrive at before free agency kicks in is going to go up, perhaps considerably, should the Oilers drag their feet and let Smid hit the open market.

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I’m not saying empty the vault for Smid – that usually doesn’t and shouldn’t happen with defensemen who don’t put up big numbers – but I’d certainly urge GM Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe to get the ink done on Smid, who is playing for $2.25 million this season, before anybody else gets a crack at him.


I don’t know what line in the sand agent Steve Kotlowitz has drawn regarding salary and term with Tambellini, or how much exactly that line will move in outright UFA status, but my best guess is he’s looking at settling for something between $3.5 million and $4 million a season for Smid.

I don’t see Smid being worth $4 million a season, at least not to the Oilers. If I was in the GM’s chair, I’d be looking to make a deal by offering Smid a four-year contract, taking him to age 31, at $3.25 a season, or $13 million over the term.

While Kotlowitz and Smid might find that a bit tight (or a lot tight) — the sides could easily split the difference and eventually settle on four years at $14 million — I would not feel compelled to go beyond that, if I was Tambellini.

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I like Smid because you know exactly what you’re going to get with him and from him – 20 minutes of honest effort a night, a competitive streak and an edge to his game. There is consistency and a measure of continuity with Smid, who is now the fourth-longest serving Oiler behind Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky.

Smid’s respected and liked in the dressing room. He’s a good teammate. He wants to stay in Edmonton and he’s young enough to be a piece of the puzzle moving forward. All that would compel me to get the ink done and avoid a price hike on the open market.

Just not at stupid money.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • DaveChamp

    Any guy who shows the willingness to put his fists through anyone’s face who messes with the young guns is a desirable player. One who is also top 10 in the league in hits and blocked shots deserves a raise. Let’s sign him. Get it done.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Really, since when does Smid play an enforcer type of game? The only guys he rough houses with is usually after the whistle is blown and the guy is of smaller stature. I think Smid picks and chooses who he goes with in regards to fighting, and usually it’s nothing more than some face washes with the ref jumping in.

      On a side note Smid is a decent stay at home defender that can block shots. He’s playing more minutes with a weak Oilers team than he would on most other teams, which in turn has helped his number (shot blocking, hits) rise. He’s nothing much more than that so let’s hope Tambo doesn’t get carried away with an inflated salary. Smid shouldn’t get much more than 3 million per.

  • DieHard

    Robin the title is a bit misleading. You and I agree sign him but not at any cost. Solid defensemen with nil offense are hardly a rare commodity. Smid is a known entity to the oil and thus a small premium over market is justified. 3.5 for four max. Otherwise let him walk.

  • DieHard

    I love smid but he just doesn’t bring enough to get paid. I’d feel uncomfortable at 3 mill, and would be happy at 2.5. He’s ideally a 5/6 pairing and you just can’t afford to pay for that with all the tip level talent we have to pay. That money should go for a left shot puck mover to go with j Schultz petry and klefbom

    • Ladi is not passing on UFA status for $2.5 million a season when he makes $2.25 million now. The UFA crop is thin for blueliners this summer and there will be a market for him.

      Like I said, my aim would be to get him signed for $3.25 and I could live with $3.5, but I wouldn’t go higher than that — and that’s with recognizing his service and that he wants to play here. I’d also be willing to go five years, taking him to 32, as long as I got my average at no more than $3.5 per.

      • nuge2drai

        So you’re saying Smid should be getting a 56% raise while the Salary cap decreases by 9%. Essentially a 65% raise next season for Smid on a contract he signed 2 years ago. His game really hasn’t elevated to a whole new level the past couple years to warrant a 65% raise.

        With the salary cap coming down and Smid’s abilities improving at a marginal level than potentially a 20% raise is fair which brings Smid to 2.7 million. However, given he is going to UFA status than one could argue 30%.

        In any case, anything over 3 million is an overpayment. This is a player who is seeing a lot of ice time because of the team he is playing for. Because he is playing 4/5 pairing on a very poor team doesn’t make him a 4/5 pairing defenseman in this league. He’s a 5/6 defenseman in my opinion and you can’t over pay for those players.

        • Bonvie

          Interesting how you classify him as a number 5 or 6 Defenseman based on…. points I would imagine.

          Smid is a 27 year old D-man just entering his prime coming off three relatively consistent seasons. Partnered up usually with the call-up or the new guy on the team facing probably the toughest lines and usually doing okay, he is the main staple of the Oilers PK which is a fairly good unit.

          I think the Oilers sign him for exactly what Brownlee suggested for 4 years at 14m. I would be extemely happy if it was only 12m over 4. I think entering UFA at 31 will give him perfect timing to earn a great contract providing he establishes himself through the next four years to be a Kevin Lowe like D-man who provides solid D to a winning team which I think he can.

  • geeker99

    I know the oilchange scene has been brought up when losing late in o.t to Van? I love it and looking at Lander’s face when it’s happening I don’t think it happens enough. I think we all know what we get with the lad. very little offence but a good effort everynight. IMO 3.5 depending on the term of course is fair. i have a sick feeling that we would miss him dearly if he goes. Classic Tambo letting it go this late. Ladi will have over a barrel soon enough. [see hemsky deal]

    • Citizen David

      I agree we’ll miss him sorely if he goes. I don’t think it’s fair to get on Tambo’s case until we see what he does. People critisize him for signing the Hall and Eberle contracts too soon, now waiting to long on Smid. I didn’t mind the Hemsky deal because of it’s term and we need some vets that are better at offense than Belanger to tide us over till the young guns can carry the team. Tambellini might sign Smid to 4.5 million a year which would be too much, but if he does get him signed to 3.5 people won’t give him any props. Which is wrong. We shall see.

  • Citizen David

    Typical of the Oilers to sign someone today that has not proven anything to them, and let a fan favourite like Smid dangle. He’s been on the team for several years, and has given blood, sweat, tears and teeth. He’s been loyal and has be vocal about his desire to stay a part of the team. There’s no question Smid wants to be paid and wants to be in for the long haul, but he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy that would be unreasonable. He’s a hard working blue collar guy that most teams would love to have, so why in the name of everything that’s Holy would the GD GM take so long. He’s had many years to assess Smids play, loyalty and commitment.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Anything close to 4 per for a single digit point per season player is a mistake as far as i’m concerned. A Lee Fogolin type player…. minus the meanstreak.

    I can hear Glen Sather laughing at the very thought of a player like Smid wanting nearly 7% of the salary budget. If he stays, he needs to be in that 5% maximum range. That 2% difference could furnish/pay your whole 4th line the way things are in todays game.

    • geeker99

      Not every d-man needs to be offensively gifted. Smid has been playing an awful lot of hockey in his own end under extreme pressure. Thats like saying huddy and Randy gregg were passengers in the glory days. if we get some guys that win puck battles in the offensive zone I think Ladi will improve. i agree 4 would be a stretch to be a quality contract.

  • DSF

    Some comparables:

    Ryan Wilson – $2.25M

    Matt Niskanen – $2.25M

    Nikita Nikitin – $2.15M

    Alexei Emelin – $2M

    Anything over $2.5M will be an overpay.

    You can increase that amount slightly for buying UFA years but not by much.

    He’s a #5D on a contending team.

        • You’re out to lunch with $2.5 million because that’s not going to happen with Smid as he faces UFA status at a relatively young age — I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s the reality of NHL economics.

          I’ll bet the number Smid signs for ends up being closer to $3.25 million per season than $2.5 million. Feel free to cut and paste this later.

          Don’t worry, though. When it plays out as I suspect it will, you can simply say Tambellini (or somebody else) overpaid. If Smid can’t get $3.25 here he’ll hit the open market.

          • DSF

            I generally watch 2-3 games per night.

            I’ve watched the Perils of Ladi since he came to the Oilers.

            Pick a contending team or three and we;ll examine where Ladi might fit.

            I’ll get you started.

            Here’s Vancouver’s top 6 D.







            Where do you think Ladi would slot in there?

            I think, given their contracts, Vancouver would take Tanev as their #5 in a heartbeat.

            What do you think?

    • otter2233

      Some other comparables:

      Anton Volchenkov $4.25M

      Robin Regehr $4.02M

      Braydon Coburn $4.5M

      Mike Komisarek $4.5M

      Ed Jovanovski $4.125M

      I would say these players have similar games compared to Smid’s.

      • DSF

        Which players on your list do you think are NOT overpaid?

        I would think all of them except Coburn who has 36, 28 and 24 point seasons to his credit.

        Regehr is in the last year of a contract that he signed when he WAS a top pairing shutdown defenseman.

        Komisarek was just a goofy mistake by Burke.

        And Jovanovski got that contract so the Panthers could reach the cap floor.

        The cautionary tale is DON’T over pay for average defensemen.

    • nuge2drai

      I agree, we have lost up mind, no reason to waste that type of moula on a guy that is textbook def of average. He does nothing exceptionally well, NOTHING. We can find Stephane robidas and Eric brewers and Cory sarich’s ALLfreakin over the place for peanuts……we need to spend the big money on a big gun goalie and 2 prime time D. Then we need Steve Ott and we’re set, let Mr. Lady take 3M or let him walk

    • Bonvie

      Your out to lunch with the 5th D comment, not to mention all your compareables are near entry level contracts your comparing Peckham and Fistric type guys to Smid watch an Oilers game for a change.

      Picking Cherries!!!

      • DSF

        Find a contending team that you think would employ Ladi in a top 4 role.

        I’ve already done Vancouver.

        Here’s Anaheim.







        I would think Ladi would be 4 at best in that lineup….more likely #5.

        Now, take a look at Chicago, Los Angeles, STL, San Jose, Detroit and Minnesota.

        Detroit might employ Ladi on their second pairing and Minnesota might place Ladi on their second pairing with Gilbert but the others…not so much.

        • Czar

          I think that Chicago,Minny,Pittsburgh and Boston would all put more value on Smid than you do. I also believe he’d be in the 2nd pairing in Anaheim with one of the kids. Vancouver could really use him because they’d finally have a dman with a pair.

          • DSF








            Bottom pairing at best unless you think Smid is superiror to Hjalmarsson.








            (Scandella on injury rehab in Houston)

            Possibly #4








            Not a chance








            Actually, Boychuk might be a very good comparable for Smid.

            Boychuk is signed for 3 years at $3.3M.

          • Bonvie

            First off if you look at a d like Vancouver you can place him anywhere from 1 to 4 because their d is pretty even. In Minnesota did we not have Smid ahead of Gilbert probably #2 there. Same thing goes for Boston could easily be #2 with Chara.

            Also making the argument that in Chicago because he is not better than their top four D and could not bump any of them, therefore he is not a top four D. This is the same as saying Tavares is not as good a centre as Crosby or Malkin so, Tavares is a third line centre.

      • Bonvie, you are an idiot, Smid is a top four on any team. If the Oilers don’t sign him then they are as dumb as you.
        We don’t need anymore draft picks, those don’t work out so well. Smid competes every night hard more than you can say for Eberle or Schultz. We need more guys willing to sacrifice.

  • Supernova

    We need to sign him period, he will come in somewhere close to 4 million over 4 years. This needs to happen for progression. The cap will be going back up in 2 years and if the team has made the correct progression we can use him in exchange for another asset.

    The management and fans have a long history of saying asset X is only worth Y.

    The discussion was exactly like this about glencross, that line was a difference of 200k, and the team has regretted it for years. I am not saying sign at any cost but this type of players need to be signed In order to progress. The team can save money on the 4th line and the 5 & 6 D.

    When Smid is truly our 5 trade him for a asset. Even if it isn’t equal value then.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We’ll find out soon enough if Ladislav Smid loves money a helluva lot more than Edmonton. Smid has surprising interest around the league for a guy with his limitations. I think the Oilers should cash in on that interest and move him next week, and then offer him a contract on July 5th.

    Trade him at the deadline, then wait and see if he gets that redonkulus 4.5 he’s seeking. If not, offer him a 4 yr 17 million dollar deal during the summer. If he loves Edmonton that much, set him free. If he comes back, he’s ours and there’s nothing to worry about going into next season.

  • oldhippy

    I can’t believe I’m responding to DSF…….

    You took the “comparables” straight from capgeek. You just took random D from around his current cap hit. No imagination whatsoever.

    But, let’s play your game. Every one of those contracts was an RFA signing. Same as Smid’s current contract. What you have shown is the Oilers paid him pretty close to market the last time they signed him. Emelin is only in his second season. Wilson has yet to play a full season. In his first two seasons he was a regular healthy scratch on a weaker Colorado team. Niskanen is a halfway decent comparison, except fot the RFA thingy, but even there you got the cap hit wrong. That leaves Nikitin. Wow! On his third season!

    How do you compare RFA contracts to UFA contracts?

    Smid……438 games played 90 hits this season
    Nikitin…127 games played 26 hits
    Emelin…..97 games played 94 hits
    Niskanen..393 games played 27 hits
    Wison…..198 games played 13 hits

    Only Niskanen is close in games played, but he only has 26 hits. The rest don’t have enough body of work to really be comparable to Smid’s veteran status.

    And again….RFA contract!!!!! Guaranteed Niskanen gets $3.5m or better on his UFA contract.

    • DSF

      Two things.

      Paying for hits is stupid.

      It’s a wildly inaccurate stat.

      Paying for GP is also stupid.

      You can make an argument that a player entering UFA will get paid more than a player who is RFA and you would be right but locking up average defensemen to long term contracts at above market value is dumb.

      The difference between RFA and UFA contracts has all but disappeared and with the changes to the CBA, teams that overpay average players will be dead in the water.

      I agree Niskanen will likely get more…but then he’s worth more, isn’t he?

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Why not go a little off the board here. Everyone is thinking 4 years. 4.25 for one year. 4 for two. Overpay to wait and see where the cap goes and if there are good cheap salary dumps ? On the other end. 3 mill for 6 years.

  • DSF

    Although Smid is probably our best defensive defenseman I suspect/or fear that the Oilers are looking at Klefbom as the replacement player……….IMHO this is a high risk option.

    Until Klefbom has played at least one season in the NHL season, I’m not buying the hype.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    The point is if Smid went to the open market he would get a 3.5-4M contract. Your only worth what someone is willing to pay, so Smid at 3.5ishM is not an overpayment if that is the price he gets on the open market.

    • DSF

      There’s a difference between what a smart GM and a dumb GM would pay on the open market.

      There are scores of examples of mediocre players who were paid more than they are worth on the open market.

      See Mike Komisarek for reference.

      • Bonvie

        The worst contract to date was just signed this summer when Minnesota empties the vault on Suter apperantly they thought they were signing Crosby.

        Can’t wait to be talking about this albatross contract in about 5 years.

        • DSF

          I’m not sure why you’re insisting Suter will be a bad bet in 5 years.

          There are numerous examples of stud defensemen playing at a very high level well into their 30’s and Suter just turned 28 in January.(he’s 1 year older than Smid)

          As for his contract, in 5 years the cap will likely be in the range of $90M so his cap hit won’t be an issue.

          Cap projections here:

  • DSF

    Deal Smid, Whitney, Hemsky at deadline for high picks in the upcoming draft and then package those picks with our pick to the team with 1st overall choice (if it’s not us already)and lets draft Seth! The Oilers have to stop over paying and giving multiple year contracts to overrated veterans! You can’t build new until you’ve completely destroyed the old!!

  • DSF

    I think the reason he is not signed, is because he is asking crazy money. So he has Tambelini between a rock and a hard place. He’s probably looking for something in the area of $3.7 – 4.0 with 4 or 5 year term.

    Look around the league, his real market value would be something closer to $3. $3.2 tops.

    Trevor Daley , 5 yrs @ $3.3 , same age, but puts up aver of 20-25 pts. is one example,, there are probably another 50 similar types.

    If he’s holding a gun to Oilers head, than trade him for a center man, and then trade Hemsky for an elite type d man.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    I love Smid, but I think we Oiler fans tend to over-value our players. You have to pay him market value + some more to buy his UFA years.

    With the cap going down 10mil I am not sure it is the best year for Smid to be a UFA regardless of how thin the UFA dman crop is.

  • nuge2drai

    I have never really like Smid, hes a dumber, slower version of Jason Smith.

    Puck moving defenseman are valued more than stay at home, so that brings his contract down to 3.5 and than the fact he has zero offence should drop him to the 3.0 range.

    If we bring in a top 4 via free agency or trade, Smid would drop down to #4/#5 on our team.

    We have two move puck movers on the right side in Shultz and Petry. We have Nick Shultz and Fistric. We have Klefbom coming up as a left handed shut down guy.

    J Shultz, ______, Petry, N Shultz, Klefbom, Fistric.

    The blank should not be filled with Smid, it should be filled by someone who can move the puck and log heavy minutes.

    Smid is good, but if we upgrade our D finally this offseason, Smid replaced Klefbom in the rotation above and becomes our #5. Do we really want a 4 million dollar #5 dman?

    Please do not overpay this overated dman. The only reason he blocks so many shots is because he cant get the puck out the zone. He is too slow to remove the player from the puck and is forced to put his body infront of shots. He is a warrior but a dumb one at that.

  • Mumbai Max

    One thing everyone forgets about Smid is that he’s had some serious injury problems around the neck! Four years max for length & no more than $3.5m per! Quite frankly he is a 4/5 shut down d-man at best & honestly I think Fistric could fit in that role quite nicely & is helluva lot more intimidating presence on the ice!

  • Mumbai Max

    Not to worry…..Smid will sign…..3.2 to 3.8 for 3 to 5 years… He LOVES Edmonton and the Oilers have no one to replace him.

    What’s more exciting is that Craig Button was on one of the sports talk shows this afternoon and he was adamant that Klefbom is da Bom, the real deal, and will not only make the Oilers roster next year but will be a First Pairing D by year two,the equivelant of a Brent Seabrook in Chicago.

    • nuge2drai

      Oiler Domination To Follow

      That is exactly what we should be worried about, Smid signing for 3.5-3.8 for 3 to 5 years.

      If Craig Button is right and Klefbom is the real deal than he will be a top 4 D for the Oil, than Smid drops into the 5/6 slot where he should be.

      If we bring in a top 4 via free agency or trade, Smid would drop down to #6 on the team.

      J Shultz, ______, Petry, N Shultz, Klefbom, Fistric.

      Fill in the blank with Smid at 4 mil, or someone better in the 5 mil range who can move the puck. If we pay Smid 4 mil a year for 2 points, Management will have to pay inflated contracts to Hopkins and Yakupov.

  • Rocket

    Anything over 3.25 is clearly an over payment.

    I really like Smid but he is expendable. I’m not saying get rid of him but I hope management plays hardball. No more grovelling to players to play in Edmonton.

    If he likes it in Edmonton, he will take a hometown discount. If not, as DSF accurately pointed out, he’s not that hard to replace.

    Hopefully he signs with the Oilers Though.

    After all, how many shot blockers do you want to get rid of? Did anyone watch last years playoffs?
    Blocked shots apparently wins championships.

    How boring.

    • Bonvie

      DSF accurately pointed out? Really!!! I have been watching for good D-men every year on the UFA, the few decent ones that make it to the summer without getting signed by their own team get contracts like Denis Wideman. There are no value contracts for a top 4 D like Smid. There are some good value out of 6-9 depth guys through UFA but we have lots of those already.

      One last reminder the most important part about being a good Defenseman is playing DEFENSE!!!

      • Rocket

        Fair enough, playing good in his own end is the most important thing for a defenceman.

        What I meant was that the Oilers should not overpay Smid. He obviously has value & I hope he signs in Edmonton but he’s not completely irreplaceable.

  • The Oilers need Smid or at the very least a comparable should be had if the Oilers trade him.

    The Oilers are a soft team to play against and Smid does bring some much needed toughness down low, and blocks a lot of shots.

    I’ve seen a few posts mentioning Klefbom, This is why I think Petry is the player that should be moved.

    With Klefbom coming in Petry becomes expendable.

  • Bonvie

    If Oilers try to sign Smid over $3 millions a year, they would not be under the cap when other guys contracts are up. RNH, Justin Schultz and Sam Gagner contracts are due. There are many Dmen in the system, bring them up for cheap next few seasons. The team is not winning and giving everyone a raise is stupid. Chicago is smart, sign the core with big money and surround them with cheaper players with depth and characters. A good coach should be able to get any players he has to play as a team, win as a team. Why everyone on this site kept wanting top 2 Dmen or top 4 Dmen? The more minutes you give those guys the more tired and more mistakes they make later in the game. All 6 Dmen should play 20 minutes each in 60 minutes game. A team can’t have too many players making over $3 millions a year to play with guys making $6 mills each. The math don’t add up to be under the cap each year

  • DSF

    Why is there always so much hate for DSF? Every post I read of his always seems to be logical and thought out and I usually tend to agree with him. As for smid, I say sign him to a contract that will be easy to move in 2 years when he becomes our 3rd pairing guy. If you can move him at 3.5 with 2 years left without taking a contract back, then do it. who knows maybe he’ll have a career year and pot 5 goals again….. Also I’d like to point out to the “he’s a defensive defenseman shot blocker crowd” that he is a career -40